Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Adventures in Camping

I haven’t gone camping in a long time, but this year I bought a few items to make it more comfortable to camp out in the back of my SUV. Except for sleeping, I wasn’t going to spend much time at the campground on the Long Beach Peninsula because I was here to tour coastal gardens with friends.

I bought a Coleman air mattress made to fit the back end of an SUV. At the time I thought it would be fun to grab the dog, fill the cooler up with food, and take off for a camping trip a few times in the summer. The Long Beach garden tour adventure would be a good test to see how I would do. I quickly discovered that an air mattress takes up most of the room in the back of a vehicle, which meant shuffling things around so that when the air mattress was in use I could stretch out to sleep and have enought room for my Australian Shepherd too.

A couple of neighboring campers kept walking through my campsite, so I asked them if they would go around, “For privacy,” I said, politely setting boundaries. They apologized and I went back to shuffling and stuffing items here and there around the vehicle. Just before I climbed into the back, I wondered how I was going to lock myself in. I blame my poor thinking on being tired, that I didn’t think to use the fob to lock up. Therefore, I opened the side door for me to climb in, flipped the lock on the front door, and shut the back door behind me.

If I can have a good night’s sleep while camping, then I don’t mind roughing it. Success! It was very comfortable and warm and I fell asleep immediately. At around 4 am I woke up with pressure on my bladder. I tried to ignore it and fall back asleep, but my body kept pestering me! Finally, at 4:30 I knew I wouldn’t get back to sleep until I took care of business. In a half awake state, I reached over the front seat to the driver’s door, unlocked the car, and then reached for the passenger door. When it opened, the car horn shrieked, ending the early morning quiet, and announcing my stupidity! I grabbed my keys out of the netting and thought if I put them into the ignition and started the engine the noise would stop. The horn kept honking as I turned the key, but the car would not start. I fumbled around with the keys in the ignition while manually flipping the lock switch on the door. The alarm fell silent.

Phew, now I really need to pee! I opened the door and the car horn started blaring again. Quickly, I shut the door, fumbled around with the keys in the ignition, and couldn’t get the alarm to turn off. Then it stopped. How do I get out of my car? Just then, the alarm went off again, did a couple of rounds of ear-numbing honking, and then stopped. I needed to unhook the battery; anything to keep it from starting up again. I knew I was waking people up all over the campground. There was an unmistakable sound of a tent door being unzipped nearby, reminding me of the unfortunate campers in tents that were jolted out of sleep. The alarm went off again! They must be at a point of wanting to lynch me. Oh gees Debbie, use the fob! I hit the unlock button on the fob and the alarm quit.

I quietly got out of my car and waited to see if the alarm was going to go off again. My dog was whimpering in bewilderment, but the car remained quiet. As I locked it up, my bladder reminded me why I was standing outside of my car at 4:30 in the morning. I turned in the direction of the bathrooms, and ran!

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